Dezeen Magazine

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library will be located in Medora, North Dakota

Snøhetta, Studio Gang and Henning Larsen compete to design Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library

Architecture firms Snøhetta, Studio Gang and Henning Larsen have been shortlisted to design a presidential library for Theodore Roosevelt in Medora, North Dakota.

The three firms were selected from 12 practices that applied to the Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation made public in April to find a suitable architect for the project.

Firms to start designing concepts

"These architects share our vision and values," said Melani Walton, chair of the foundation's design and architecture committee. "They want to listen and spend time with the community, study the ecology of the Badlands, and embrace the complexities of Theodore Roosevelt's life."

US firm Studio Gang, Copenhagen firm Henning Larsen and Snøhetta, which has offices in New York and Oslo, will begin developing concepts for the library. It will be built in North Dakota, the home state of Roosevelt, who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909.

The foundation has found a plot in Medora, a city located in the state's rugged Badlands and abuts Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

"We're deeply honoured to be part of this historic opportunity and are looking forward to immersing ourselves in the majesty of the Badlands," said Henning Larsen partner Michael Sørensen. "This project could not be conceived anywhere else, it could not belong anywhere else."

Projects to explore "Roosevelt's pursuit of conservation"

"I have personally been inspired both by Teddy Roosevelt's pursuit of conservation, but also by the Badland's majestic landscape and ecology," said Studio Gang founder Jeanne Gang.

Snøhetta co-founder Craig Dykers echoed Gang's sentiment, adding that Roosevelt's conservation ambitions "have even greater relevance today".

"Theodore Roosevelt overcame many challenges in his life and translated his experiences into a deep appreciation for the value of our natural resources and the power of our landscapes," Dykers said.

Initial design concepts will be submitted by 17 July, and digital or model renderings are due by 3 August. Proposals will be made public on 10 August. The winning firm will work on the project with an executive architect and construction management team that is based locally.

There are 13 presidential libraries in the US that serve as archives and museums illustrating the life and work of each president since Herbert Hoover, who was in office from 1929-1933. They are built in the president's home state, with the most recent completed for George W Bush, in Dallas, Texas.

Presidential Library will provide "economic stimulus for North Dakota"

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation initiated the project to complete a library for Roosevelt because it believes it will provide a boost to North Dakota's economy.

"This is an exciting next step in creating not just the TR Library but also an economic stimulus for North Dakota," said director of design and construction Ken Vein.

"The project is an investment in construction and jobs, and the TR Library will add to our state's economy for generations to come."

Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien are designing the 14th presidential library for Barack Obama, who ended his term in 2017. They were selected for the project in June 2016 from a strong-list that included Snøhetta, Renzo Piano and David Adjaye.

The Obama Presidential Center, however, has encountered controversy because of its siting in the historic Jackson Park, which was designed in 1871 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The Cultural Landscape Foundation president Charles A Birnbaum likened the project to "confiscating 20 acres of New York City's Central Park" in an Opinion piece for Dezeen.